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Posts Tagged ‘ballet’

Miami City Ballet Looking For Young Dancers to Join Nutcracker Cast

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Miami City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; photo courtesy Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; photo courtesy Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet will hold auditions this September for area children who would like to dance in this season’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

The production will feature a cast of more than 100, with many of the roles performed by children. Performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will be held at Artis–Naples on December 6 and 7, at the Kravis Center December 27 to 30.

Auditions for dancers from Naples and the surrounding area will be held September 14 at Artis–Naples, 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples. Auditions for Palm Beach County–area children will be held September 28 at Ballet East, 2365 Vista Parkway, Suite 7, West Palm Beach.

At both locations, MCB children’s ballet masters will audition prospective dancers ages 8 and up with previous ballet training beginning at 11:30am.

Naples rehearsals will be held daily from September 15 to 21, followed by weekly rehearsals beginning September 22 at Naples Academy of Ballet. Palm Beach County rehearsals will take place weekly on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons beginning October 7 at Ballet East.

For more information, visit http://www.miamicityballet.org/news.php.

 

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Colorado Ballet Moves Into $6.5 Million New Home in Denver’s Art District

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Colorado Ballet dancers Maria Mosina and Domenico Luciano; photo by Sue Daniels Photography

Colorado Ballet dancers Maria Mosina and Domenico Luciano; photo by Sue Daniels Photography

Colorado Ballet has completed the move into its new home, a 30,000-square foot building at the north end of Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Drive, reported Broadway World.

The new $6.5 million facility features seven state-of-the-art dance studios for the company and the Colorado Ballet Academy. The Armstrong Theater, a multi-use black box theater equipped with theatrical lighting, sound, and telescoping seats, will function as both a dance studio and performance space. Improved amenities for the company include locker rooms, showers, and a physical therapy room. The new academy location also includes a safe student drop-off area and increased parking in the neighborhood for academy families.

Colorado Ballet artistic director Gil Boggs said the new facility will allow the ballet to grow its outreach efforts and bring dance to thousands of school kids and people with disabilities. “We will also host small performances and events in our new theater, exposing more people to the magic of dance in this thriving arts neighborhood,” he said.

“This is the first time in our nearly 54-year history that we will own our building, and that is very exciting for everyone involved with Colorado Ballet,” said Boggs. “We have so much to celebrate in our organization, not just the new building, but also last season’s record-breaking attendance and performance revenue and our upcoming season of performances.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Colorado-Ballet-Moves-into-Denvers-Art-District-20140828#.VACLxM90yUk.

 

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TWB’s Annual Open House Gives Guests a Sneak Peek at Upcoming Season

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TWB’s Sleepy Hollow; photo by Dean Alexander

TWB’s Sleepy Hollow;
photo by Dean Alexander

Guests will have an opportunity to view exclusive excerpts from The Washington Ballet’s upcoming productions of ALICE (in wonderland), Swan Lake, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia at its annual open house, September 21 from 2 to 5pm, at the ballet’s northwest DC location, 3515 Wisconsin Avenue.

Open house visitors can watch rehearsals and class demonstrations from The Washington School of Ballet, enjoy refreshments, and participate in family-friendly events and activities. Artistic director Septime Webre will talk about his process of creating full-length ballets, such as this upcoming season’s world premiere of Sleepy Hollow, in a Q&A.

The Washington School of Ballet will showcase class demonstrations with programs performed by students of the company’s northwest and southeast (TWB@THEARC) DC campuses. Representatives from the school will be on hand to answer questions about registration for the school and its classes conducted for children and adults at the southeast and northwest DC campuses.

Ongoing events during the day include makeup demonstrations, interactive kid-friendly “Make-A-Ballet” workshops, a costume try-on station, a “The Perfect Hair Bun” station, and pictures with professional dancers.

The event is free and open to the community. For more information, visit http://www.washingtonballet.org/_pdf/Press%20Releases%202014/The%20Washington%20Ballet%20Open%20House%20FINAL.pdf.

 

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Staffing Ranks Swept Clean at Pennsylvania Ballet; Many Long-Time Leaders Gone

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Jeffrey Gribler accepts accolades after a Pennsylvania Ballet performance; photo by Peter Tobia

Jeffrey Gribler accepts accolades after a Pennsylvania Ballet performance; photo by Peter Tobia

With a single swing of the ax, the new leadership of Pennsylvania Ballet has cleared out the longtime artistic pillars of the company, reported Philly.com.

Jeffrey Gribler is gone. The energetic personification of the company, who arrived in 1975 as an apprentice and quickly worked his way through the corps to become principal dancer and ballet master, was let go after nearly four decades. Tamara Hadley, who joined the same year and was much loved as principal dancer in the major classical roles, has been dismissed as ballet mistress. Also fired were William DeGregory, a star dancer before becoming director of the ballet school and Pennsylvania Ballet II, and former dancer Michael Sheridan, assistant to the artistic director and the cofounder of the annual AIDS fund-raiser Shut Up & Dance.

The dismissals—carried out Monday and not announced publicly by the company—come as Pennsylvania Ballet continues to remake itself after commissioning a report from arts consultant Michael M. Kaiser that, in the words of one ballet leader, aimed to bring the company “back to the top ranks of American ballet companies.”

In quick order after Kaiser’s evaluation a year ago, both artistic chief Roy Kaiser (not related to Michael Kaiser) and executive director Michael Scolamiero left, and by this July the company had appointed Spanish dancer Angel Corella as its new artistic director.

Asked Wednesday about the reasons for the dismissals, Corella said in an interview at the company’s headquarters: “I’m sure the people were great, but it was about the team you feel comfortable with. Energy is important in an arts organization. If you are comfortable, everything will fall into place.”

Julie Diana, who retired in April as principal dancer, has been appointed ballet mistress, and her husband, principal dancer Zachary Hench, the new ballet master. Corella said that he had known Hench and Diana for about seven or eight years before coming to Philadelphia, since bringing them to Spain to dance with his former company there.

The ballet also let go its marketing director, a member of the development staff, and the administrator of the ballet school. The school’s director will now be retired dancer Arantxa Ochoa, its former principal instructor, whom Corella said he had known from childhood when she was his sister’s best friend.

Ochoa was also a member of the search committee that named Corella artistic director.

To read the full story, visit http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140828_Pennsylvania_Ballet_
fires_longtime_artistic_leaders__administrators.html
.

 

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Two Oversized Ballet Lovers Meet, Dance, and Fall in Love in Coldplay Video

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Coldplay’s “True Love”; photo New York Daily News, via YouTube

Coldplay’s “True Love”;
photo New York Daily News, via YouTube

Coldplay’s latest video, “True Love,” follows two “oversized” people falling into what we assume is true love—both face rejection that makes them feel like outsiders, and both are simply mad for the ballet.

Radio.com says actress Jessica Lucas plays an aspiring ballet dancer whose huge balloon body excludes her from realizing her dream of becoming a professional dancer. Coldplay singer Chris Martin is a janitor, sweeping up a theater housing the ballet. The pair, individually, face hardships like not fitting through doors and incurring the constant disdain of almost everyone they come into contact with.

Their meet-cute is after a ballet. As the theater clears, Lucas remains literally stuck in her seat. Martin takes to the stage to clean it—and to perform his own interpretative ballet. And then, they dance: together, with the knowledge that if no one else loves them they can love each other.

To see the original story and watch the video, visit http://radio.com/2014/08/22/coldplay-true-love-video-jessica-lucas/.

 

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Bad Boys of Ballet ‘Saved’ to Cabriole Another Day by AGT’s Judge Mel B

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Bad Boys of Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

Bad Boys of Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

The Bad Boys of Ballet, a troupe of male dancers led by a solo female dancer, choreographer Adrienne Canterna, have made it to the America’s Got Talent semi-finals after all, thanks to a post-elimination save by judge Mel B.

The Maryland Gazette said the Gambrills-based group, which fuses classical ballet with hip-hop, jazz, and acrobatics, got word from celebrity judge Mel B just minutes after being eliminated last Wednesday night that she was using her judges’ “save” for the act.

“We screamed and cried,” Canterna said. “We were seriously over the moon, because it was just minutes after we got cut. She said she loved our act so much because we brought ballet to a new audience.”

Thanks to Mel B, they will dance again live tomorrow (August 26) in the hope of advancing toward the finals and the ultimate prize of $1 million.

“It has been such a roller coaster of emotions. We were so high from our performance and then so low after being eliminated,” said Canterna, who added that she and the six male dancers that make up the Bad Boys were a little surprised to be voted off because of the standing ovations they received from Mel B and judge Heidi Klum after their last performance.

To see the original story, visit http://www.capitalgazette.com/maryland_gazette/news/ph-ac-cn-bad-boys-back-0822-20140821,0,5661134.story.

 

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Things Are Looking Up After Struggling Minnesota Ballet Puts Dancers in Charge

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Saint Paul Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

Saint Paul Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

A little more than a year ago, the Saint Paul [MN] Ballet company and school faced debt and considered cutting back on performances and even closing its doors. It reorganized as an artist-led organization, with dancers taking on administrative roles.

Heading into the 2014–15 season, it looks like the dancers’ dedication has paid off.

TwinCities.com—St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the company has expanded to nine professional dancers, plus five in training. More than 120 children and adults take classes every week and the school hopes to almost double enrollment with a second studio opening in September at 655 Fairview Avenue North, just north of University. The public is invited to learn more during an open house on Saturday.

“We hope that we can grow and we can have a company of 20 dancers,” says dancer and artistic director Zoe Henrot. “Our goal is to become a major landmark for ballet—for ballet training and performance and ballet for fun.”

The company recently landed a $38,000 state arts board operating grant to help pay guest choreographers and fund collaborations with artists such as local photographer Caroline Yang, who has been documenting performances, rehearsals, and backstage moments over the last nine months (www.instagram.com/carolineyangphoto).

The flexibility of being an artist-led organization has also brought some unusual and creative initiatives. Last spring, the company launched a “Take Back the Tutu” public awareness campaign around the issues of food disorders and body image. This fall, the ballet will offer a monthly lecture series focused on healthy dancing with talks from health providers and dancers.

While the Twin Cities does not have a large professional ballet company, it boasts a handful of small ones, including the nationally respected James Sewell Ballet based at Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in downtown Minneapolis. Other small companies are affiliated with schools, including Minnesota Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota Ballet in downtown St. Paul, and Continental Ballet in Bloomington.

To read more, visit http://www.twincities.com/stage/ci_26374036/st-paul-ballet-growin-by-small-leaps.

 

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Marriott Hotel Employees Learn a Thing or Two about Performance from Joffrey Dancers

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Ashley Wheater; photo by Jim Luning

Ashley Wheater; photo by Jim Luning

Employees of the JW Marriott chain of luxury hotel properties will be learning how to improve their own performance from an organization that knows performance inside and out—the Joffrey Ballet.

The Chicago Business Journal reported that JW Marriott is expected to formally announce next week a new program called “Poise and Grace,” a service training program for JW Marriott staff that is based on the rigorous practice techniques used by ballet dancers.

The Chicago-based Joffrey dancers and artistic director Ashley Wheater are featured in four new videos that address different aspects of proper service techniques that JW Marriott wants to impress upon its staff so they can impress hotel guests.

In the videos, Wheater talks about the value of warm-up exercises, proper breathing, flow of movement, and—perhaps most important—connecting to the audience, a technique that is essential in the performing arts and apparently one that JW Marriott Hotels executives want to impress upon their staff.

In the video about connecting with an audience, Wheater discusses the importance of eye contact, use of specific gestures, and a performer’s crucial need to own his or her specific air of confidence and discipline.

JW Marriott Hotels plans to use the videos to develop and train staff at 64 of its properties in 26 countries worldwide. To see the original story, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/news/2014/08/20/j-marriott-turns-to-joffrey-ballet-to-elevate.html.

 

 

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Misty Copeland’s Story to Hit the Big Screen; Adam Shankman to Produce

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Misty Copeland; photo courtesy Deadline

Misty Copeland; photo courtesy Deadline

New Line Cinema has optioned the inspirational true story of ballet prodigy Misty Copeland, who fought against the odds to become only the second African American female soloist to dance with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, reported Deadline.

Adam Shankman (director/choreographer of the musical films Hairspray, Rock of Ages) and his sister, Jennifer Gibgot (the Step Up franchise), alongside Phil Sandhaus, will produce the feature film, to be adapted from Copeland’s bestselling memoir, Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.

The film will focus on Copeland from age 13, when she began ballet training at the local Boys & Girls Club while living in a welfare motel with her mother and siblings, through her years living part-time with a sponsor family while attending dance school, and the bitter custody battle that broke out between her mother and her host family as her ballet career skyrocketed.

Filmmakers will be searching for a multi-talented young performer with dance training to play Copeland. The project also has meaty roles for two actresses to play Copeland’s mother and mentor.

Copeland, who will work with producers as a consultant, has performed with Prince at Madison Square Garden, serves on President Obama’s fitness council, and appeared as a guest judge this season on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Next month she will make history again as the first African American ballerina to dance the lead in ABT’s Swan Lake. Her memoir, which she co-wrote with author Charisse Jones, burned up the New York Times’ bestseller list after hitting shelves in March.

To see the original story, visit http://deadline.com/2014/08/misty-copeland-life-in-motion-new-line-movie-biopic-819569/.

 

 

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Joffrey Ballet Invites Fans into Swan Lake Rehearsal Via YouTube Live Streaming

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The Joffrey Ballet’s Swan Lake; image courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet’s Swan Lake;
image courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet is holding an “open” rehearsal today for its upcoming production of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, and balletomanes around the country are welcome to attend.

For the first time in the company’s history, the Joffrey will be live streaming a rehearsal today, August 21, from 11:30am to 3pm, via its online YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/TheJoffreyBallet).

During the rehearsal, Wheeldon will coach the dancers as they work on his reimagined version of the ballet classic, which sets the story in the 19th century and follows a young boy, Siegfried, who daydreams of escaping his own Swan Lake rehearsals, thus positioning the story as a ballet within a ballet. Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater will serve as host and moderator for viewers, introducing Wheeldon and conducting brief interviews with Wheeldon and lead dancers during periodic rehearsal breaks.

The Joffrey premiere of Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, set for October 15 to 26 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, represents the first time The Joffrey Ballet has ever presented any version of Swan Lake in its almost 60-year history. The $1.5 million production features opulent costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant, scenic design by Adrianne Lobel, and music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

For more information, visit www.joffrey.org.

 

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Royal Ballet of Flanders Parts Ways with Artistic Director

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Assis Carrerio; photo by Katrijn Van Giel/De Standaard

Assis Carrerio; photo by Katrijn Van Giel/De Standaard

According to Flanders Today, the Royal Ballet of Flanders has ended its contract with artistic director Assis Carreiro, the organization announced last week. In a short statement, the now merged ballet and opera said performances would continue as programmed.

“We have all it takes to continue on our path to represent classical ballet in all its forms and possibilities in Flanders and abroad,” said general manager Lena De Meerleer.

Hired in 2012, Carreiro was a controversial choice for the role of artistic director. She had little dance experience, unions complained, and mainly worked in coordinating roles. “She let it be known that she will not be attending rehearsals or auditions herself, but will bring in assistants and consultants to support her in those activities,” Servais Le Compte of union ACV-Transcom Cultuur told De Standaard in 2012. “But judging dancers is by far one of the most important jobs of an artistic director.”

Over the last two years, the company has toured far less, giving dancers fewer opportunities to perform, and the level of physical conditioning decreased, with injuries suffered routinely by dancers taking longer to heal. A dossier was put together containing “dozens” of complaints to be submitted to the committee charged with accident prevention and protection in the workplace.

Dancers wrote a letter to the organization’s board late last year citing that 69% of them had voted no confidence in the artistic director. Eventually, one-third of the company left—15 dancers out of 45, including some of the more prominent names. The ballet will name a successor as quickly as possible, the statement said.

To see the original story, visit http://www.flanderstoday.eu/art/royal-ballet-flanders-parts-company-assis-carreiro.

 

 

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Free Classes for All Ages Highlight of Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day

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Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day; photo courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day;
photo courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Free dance performances, classes, and demonstrations will take center stage during Kansas City Ballet’s fourth annual KC Dance Day at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity on August 23 from 9am to 6:30pm.

Artistic director Devon Carney said about 2,000 area residents of all ages are expected to enjoy the day, which will include dance performances by local companies, plus an open rehearsal by Kansas City Ballet and the KCB second company and trainees, with a sneak peek of the ballet’s upcoming production of Alice (In Wonderland).

More than 20 dance and movement classes open to the public include creative movement and pre-ballet for ages 3 to 8, ballet for ages 8 to 11, and Zumba, Pilates mat, hip-hop, jazz, modern, ballet, tap, and yoga for ages 12 and up.

World dance classes appropriate for all ages will include Hawaiian, Irish step, Spanish, West African, Mexican, and Chinese.

Doors open at 8:30am, with classes running from 9:15 to 4:45pm. Registration for free classes is available online. For more information, visit www.kcballet.org.

To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Kansas-City-Ballet-to-Present-Annual-KC-Dance-Day-823-Schedule-Announced-20140805#.U-JDCs90yUk.

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Fashion Meets Fouettés at NYCB Fall Gala

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New York City Ballet Fall Gala; photo by Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet Fall Gala;
photo by Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet’s annual Fall Gala will once again celebrate ballet and fashion, with costumes by an international roster of some of the fashion world’s most renowned talents.

Broadway World said designers Thom Browne, Sarah Burton, Valentino Garavani, Carolina Herrera, and Mary Katrantzou will provide the stylish dancewear, while NYCB dancers present world premieres by choreographers Justin Peck, Liam Scarlett, and Troy Schumacher, as well as existing works by Peter Martins and Christopher Wheeldon.

The gala evening will take place September 23 at New York City Ballet’s home at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the David H. Koch Theater, and will launch NYCB’s four-week Fall Season, which will run from September 23 through October 19. All five ballets on the September 23 gala evening will also be performed October 2, 7, 9, and 11.

Actress, producer, and philanthropist Sarah Jessica Parker, vice-chair of the NYCB board of directors and who has been instrumental in bringing together the worlds of ballet and fashion for the special gala evening at NYCB, will serve as a chairman for the event for the third consecutive year.

To see the full story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/New-York-City-Ballets-2014-Fall-Gala-to-be-Held-923-20140804#.U-Djb890yUk.

 

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Ballet Training Takes to the Pool

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Madison Contemporary Vision Dance instructor Gisela Baldwin; photo by John Hart, courtesy Wisconsin State Journal

Madison Contemporary Vision Dance
instructor Gisela Baldwin; photo by John Hart,
courtesy Wisconsin State Journal

Walking into a ballet class, you expect certain things. Plenty of pliés and pirouettes, perhaps an instructor calling out moves or clapping in time with the music. What you don’t expect is the overwhelming smell of chlorine, says the Wisconsin State Journal.

At the Madison Contemporary Vision Dance summer intensive program in July, dancers took a break from their traditional ballet classes and worked on their technique in the pool. “It gives them a different perspective and helps them focus on what muscles they should be activating while they’re in certain moves to make them more graceful,” said instructor Allison Kenison.

Artistic director Sara Willcutt said her program is unique to their school. “There are some swim clubs that offer (what they call) water ballet classes, but that is more like synchronized swimming,” Willcutt said.

Willcutt developed the classes by chance during her pregnancy. “I was amazed by how I was able to move in the water,” Willcutt said. “I could really move, even though it was hard for me to dance at that point in my pregnancy. I thought it would be a great way to teach ballet movements.”

Kenison explained that resistance created by the water slows and controls the dancers’ movements, giving them more time to think about how they should position their arms, the degree to which they need arch their back, or if their toes are pointed. She said it also makes dancers more aware of the muscles they’re engaging in each move. “We’re trying to teach them to relate what they do in the water with what they do out of it,” Kenison said.

“If we slow it down like this, we can think more about the transitions in our movements, which helps us be better artists,” Kenison said. “It allows for more time to melt into the next move and smooth out the movement.”

To see the full story, visit http://host.madison.com/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/water-ballet-class-teaches-dancers-grace/article_67129489-7981-583b-8afd-0d0d094d2f5d.html.

 

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Google Glass Gives Choreographers New Tool

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Google Glass; photo courtesy Reuters

Google Glass; photo courtesy Reuters

Founder of the arts website Ballet to the People, Carla Escoda, reports in the Huffington Post that four dance artists have employed the much maligned Google Glass to create dance video that can, for the first time, integrate what the dancer sees into the work that she is performing. Google Glass can also send text and audio instructions to the dancer via the tiny prism display on her forehead; and can send her visual inspiration, or deliberately disrupt her concentration.

In June 2013, Google launched a competition on Twitter soliciting bids from people interested in beta-testing its latest foray into wearable high tech. The winners—known as Glass Explorers—ponied up $1,500 for the privilege of membership in a highly exclusive club of early adopters.

But many have expressed outrage over perceived invasion of privacy, and Google and other tech firms have become a symbol of corporate greed.

Google, in part to mitigate the negative response, recently bestowed grants on five non-profits who will use Glass in their community outreach, including Mark Morris Dance Group, which will incorporate the use of Glass in their work with Parkinson’s patients.

Amid the swirl of controversy surrounding Glass, Ballet to the People assembled four of the hottest young dance-makers in the San Francisco Bay Area to experiment with the technology.

At the heart of the groundbreaking experimental film, titled Capture, Milissa Payne Bradley pays sly homage to the iconic Russian classic Swan Lake, using Glass as a magical tool that transforms sea birds into young women trapped on the beach.

Dexandro “D” Montalvo collaborated with his dancer, Babatunji Johnson, to convey the experience of dance from the eyes of a dancer, and the evolution of breakdance from gestures that implicitly mark out a dancer’s social identity.

Lauren Benjamin worked in the movement style of House Dance, whose freedom, positive energy and playful spirit to her evokes the qualities that children naturally bring to their exploration of the world.

Robert Dekkers plays with the notion that we use technology to hide, to craft and project an image of ourselves. His dancers wear Glass to signify a partial revealing (and concealing) of one’s genuine self.

To read the original story and to view the video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carla-escoda/dances-with-google-glass_b_5663708.html.

 

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Ballet West Celebrates New Academy Faculty With Free Classes, Ribbon Cutting

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Ballet West Academy; photo by Ryan Galbraith

Ballet West Academy;
photo by Ryan Galbraith

Salt Lake City’s Ballet West will celebrate the grand opening of its new Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point with a week of free children and adult classes August 18 to 22.

Available classes will include contemporary plus many levels of ballet from Dance Discovery (age 3) and pre-ballet (age 4) to advanced level 7. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is also planned for August 22.

The program at Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point will feature a classical ballet focus under the direction of former company dancer Jennie Creer-King, and offer children the opportunity to dance in professional performances throughout a full season.

“It’s such an exciting time for growth and expansion for Ballet West, and we’re thrilled for this opportunity to serve an even larger community with this new Academy location,” said Ballet West executive director Scott Altman. “There is such a passion for the arts in Utah County, and we’re honored to bring renowned Ballet West training to children and adults alike.”

Ballet West Academy attracts more than 550 students every year. Last year’s students came from 37 states and 2 foreign countries. For more information, visit http://www.balletwest.org/thanksgivingpoint.

 

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San Antonio’s Second Professional Company Presents Ballet with a Latino Flair

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Ballet Latino de San Antonio dancer Danae Quevedo; photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News

Ballet Latino de San Antonio dancer Danae Quevedo;
photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News

With performances during its inaugural season under its belt, organizers of San Antonio’s newest ballet company, Ballet Latino de San Antonio, are working on the fall 2014 schedule as well as plans for performing abroad next year.

The San Antonio Express-News said Ballet Latino is the city’s second professional ballet company. Ballet San Antonio, the resident ballet company at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, was the first. Both companies were started by the same woman, Mayra Worthen, a native of Puerto Rico and a graduate of Texas Christian University.

Her new company is a perfect fit in a city where Latin music is as familiar and welcome as country and western, she said. “Ballet Latino is a neo-classical company that celebrates Hispanic cultures by combining classical ballet with Latin rhythms such as salsa,” Worthen said.

Most of the members, she said, are from countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy, and well-versed in Latin music.

Worthen is looking to obtain sponsors and funds to put Ballet Latino on firm financial footing, and is working on the fall season and negotiating to take the troupe north next year. Ballet Latino has been invited to perform at a dance festival in Canada in the spring, Worthen said.

To see the full story, visit http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/communities/stone-oak/article/San-Antonio-s-ballet-madrina-starts-second-company-5669527.php.

 

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Seven Teachers Recognized by ABT for Bringing Ballet to Underserved Children

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ABT teacher scholarship recipients Adam McKinney, Kimberley Stewart, Lawrence Lemon, Khilea Douglass, Sarah Williams, and Joseph Malbrough; photo by Tiffany Williams

ABT teacher scholarship recipients Adam McKinney, Kimberley Stewart, Lawrence Lemon, Khilea Douglass, Sarah Williams, and Joseph Malbrough; photo by Tiffany Williams

This month, ABT has awarded Project Plié scholarships to seven teachers from around the country who have shown enthusiasm and dedication to teaching children from underserved communities.

The teachers participated in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum summer session and have all been certified in Pre-Primary Level through Level 3. The 2014 NTC Teacher Training Scholarship recipients are:

• Fabian Barnes, a former soloist with Dance Theatre of Harlem and founder and artistic director of the Dance Institute of Washington in Washington, DC. His outreach program, Positive Directions Through Dance, was awarded in 2011 with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities—the most prestigious award this country gives for working with at-risk youth.

• Lawrence Lemon, founder of the Nomel Inspirational Dance Theater, and also founder and director of the Ohio Black Dance Festival in Columbus, Ohio. As the director of dance at Ohio Avenue After School Youth Program, he currently directs an arts integration program for several charter schools.

• Adam McKinney, a former dancer with Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As chair of the dance department at New Mexico School for the Arts, he works to provide a diverse group of young people high quality academic and artistic education as he shows them what might be possible through ballet education.

• Kimberley Stewart, owner and artistic director of the Arabesque Dance Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio, is also a licensed social worker who works with children who have been the victims of abuse and neglect. In 2013, she was presented with a Community Leadership Award from President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition for her work to build and diversify the dance program in Toledo, Ohio, area YMCAs.

• Sarah Williams, core teacher of ballet at Keshet Dance Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company is a non-profit whose professional dancers work within the community as teachers and mentors in Albuquerque, following its mission to “provide a strong base of positive mentorship for homeless and incarcerated youth and demolish misconceptions about individuals with physical disabilities.”

• Joseph Malbrough, a former principal dancer with Chicago City Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and L’Opera de Lausanne, who currently teaches at Ballet Academy East and is a lecturer/faculty in the Conservatory of Dance School of the Arts at Purchase College.

• Khilea Douglass, a former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Broadway dancer who currently dances for the Lula Washington Dance Theatre and also teaches ballet and modern at the school, which is comprised of a community of underrepresented children ages 8 to 15.

For more information, visit http://www.abt.org/education/projectplie/teachertraining/NTCrecipients.asp.

 

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Expansion at Nashville Ballet School Will Provide More Opportunities for Students

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The School of Nashville Ballet; photo by Broekema Photography

The School of Nashville Ballet;
photo by Broekema Photography

The Nashville Ballet is embarking on an unprecedented public fundraising campaign to finance an expansion project to grow studio space, renovate its Sylvan Heights headquarters, and dramatically increase the number of students, reported the Tennessean.

The nonprofit organization has already raised $3.7 million out of its goal of $5.5 million.

Plans call for the Martin Center for Nashville Ballet to grow from 3.5 studios to seven, and from 31,000 square feet to 44,000 square feet. Lobby space will be renovated, and bathrooms and locker rooms will also be upgraded.

“A big part of Nashville Ballet’s reputation, business, and role is to provide ballet education and dance education to the community,” said Nashville Ballet CEO and artistic director Paul Vasterling said, who added that the expansion will allow the ballet to offer more classes to students.

Student enrollment (from toddlers to adults) has increased from about 600 students in 2011 to 1,200 in 2013. Gerry Hayden, who serves as treasurer for the board of directors, anticipates that, following the expansion and renovation, the number of dance class students will increase by 1,200, about double its current capacity.

To read the full story, visit http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2014/08/07/nashville-ballet-launches-public-fundraising-campaign-plans-expansion/13706815/.

 

 

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Documents That Tell ABT’s History Preserved through Donation to Library of Congress

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Archive photo of Mikhail Mordkin’s Voices of Spring on ABT’s opening night, January 11, 1940; photo by Maurice Seymour

Archive photo of Mikhail Mordkin’s Voices of Spring on ABT’s opening night, January 11, 1940; photo by Maurice Seymour

American Ballet Theatre is donating some 50,000 documents to the Library of Congress, and to celebrate the gift, the library is readying an exhibition, “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years,” which is to open August 14 at its James Madison Memorial Building in Washington, DC, and travel to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in March.

The New York Times said the materials, accumulated during ABT’s sometimes bumpy 74-year history, had mostly been stored in its costume warehouses, but had also piled up in old file drawers or been donated by the boxful by relatives of alumni. There are scrapbooks of press clippings carefully cut and pasted by Lucia Chase, the founding director of Ballet Theatre; programs from state dinners for the prime minister of Japan and the president of Ivory Coast; and diaries and tour itineraries that reflect the grueling nature of rehearsals and life on the road.

George Balanchine’s 1947 contract for Theme and Variations is there. It stipulated that he would be paid $25 per performance in the first year, with his compensation falling to $15 by the third. Amid the mounds of papers also lies Jerome Robbins’s 1944 contract for Fancy Free. As a novice choreographer, he was offered only $10 per performance, with no mention of the ballet being staged beyond one year. (Little did they know.)

Rachel Moore, Ballet Theatre’s chief executive, said company officials had been worrying for years about how to conserve the papers and allow public access to them. A solution was suggested by Victoria Phillips, a Ballet Theatre board member and dance historian who had worked at the Library of Congress.

“[The library has] a number of dance-related collections—Martha Graham, Oliver Smith, Nijinska—and also collections that have crossover with Ballet Theatre, like Leonard Bernstein,” Phillips said. “So it wasn’t just bringing a dance collection to them, but also something that could be cross read by scholars.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/07/arts/dance/ballet-theater-donating-trove-of-materials-to-library-of-congress.html?_r=0.

 

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Stop By NMD And Say Hello to NYCB Dancer Jacques d’Amboise

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Jacques d’Amboise; photo courtesy National Museum of Dance

Jacques d’Amboise; photo courtesy National Museum of Dance

The public is invited to meet Jacques d’Amboise, former New York City Ballet dancer and longtime dance educator, at the National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 10 at 11am.

D’Amboise won esteem for his performing career on stage and in films such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In 1976 he founded the National Dance Institute, which annually provides dance instruction to 40,000 NYC low-income schoolchildren free of charge.

D’Amboise joins film legend Gene Kelly as one of the 2014 inductees to the museum’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame.

This event is free and open to the public. Brunch will be served. The National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway, is open for daily admissions Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm. For more information, visit www.dancemuseum.org or call 518.584.2225.

 

 

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International Cecchetti Organization Holds Ballet Competition in Virginia

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Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition; photo courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch

Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition;
photo courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch

More than 40 pre-professional dancers ages 15 to 19 from around the world will be competing in the fourth annual Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition, to be held at the Carpenter Theatre at Richmond [VA] CenterStage, August 7 to 9.

“This is the first competition hosted in the U.S.,” Betty Seibert chairwoman of Cecchetti International Ballet and board member of Cecchetti USA, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

She said the competition rotates among the seven organizations that compose the Cecchetti International Ballet, with the next competition to be held in Italy.

Each of the seven Cecchetti organizations uses the teaching and training methods of Italian ballet virtuoso and mime Enrico Cecchetti, who coached Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova exclusively from 1907 to 1909, and who created the system of technique exercises and training known as the Cecchetti method.

The public is welcome to attend individual solo performances on Thursday and Friday beginning at 7pm, as well as a gala reception with the announcement of winners on Saturday.

General admission tickets for Thursday and Friday nights are $37, with the gala reception at $77. Packages of all three events are available. Tickets can be purchased at Richmond CenterStage Box Office, online at www.etix.comor at 800.514.3849.

To see the full story, visit http://www.timesdispatch.com/entertainment-life/cecchetti-ballet-competition-comes-to-richmond/article_c7d9899c-52db-5760-be32-6f304c520126.html.

 

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Paris Opera Dancers Cheer Japanese Students Still Affected by Nuclear Plant Meltdown

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Dancers in Fukushima take class with Paris Opera Ballet dancer Audric Bezard; photo courtesy AFP

Dancers in Fukushima take class with Paris Opera Ballet dancer Audric Bezard; photo courtesy AFP

A group of French ballet stars from the renowned Paris Opera held classes for dozens of students last month in the shadow of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. It was the group’s second visit to the region since the 2011 disaster, reported the Japan Times.

The troupe of about 10 dancers gave technique advice and offered moral support as the youngsters try to return to a normal life after the worst atomic crisis in a generation.

“Today I learned where to put my hands when I’m turning and how to express myself through movement,” said Moyu Sakai, 12, a student at the Hitomi Takeuchi Ballet School in Fukushima, about 60 kilometers from the plant.

Like tens of thousands of others, Sakai and her family fled their home after the tsunami hit the Fukushima plant, sending reactors into meltdown. “I could only think about ballet. As soon as I returned, I started my lessons again,” Sakai said.

French ballet star Dorothee Gilbert praised the children. “I think they are courageous. It’s tough to recover from a disaster like that and move on,” she said. “They’re very diligent and have some good dance skills.”

The troupe visited five schools last weekend, in Fukushima, Sendai, and Ishinomaki. Yuka Oba, 26, a former student of the school who left after the disaster and now dances professionally in the U.S., said some of her former classmates were still living in tough circumstances.

“But when they dance with all their might, that helps them feel better and forget the situation,” Oba said. “That is fantastic to be able to escape reality, even if it’s just while they’re dancing.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/01/national/french-ballet-stars-bring-hope-to-young-dancers-affected-by-fukushima-disaster/#.U9-cMc90yUk.

 

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Misty Copeland’s Under Armour Ad: Dancing Past the Rejection

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Misty Copeland; photo courtesy Under Armour

Misty Copeland; photo courtesy Under Armour

An ad opens with a letter being read aloud by a young girl:

“Dear Candidate. Thank you for your application to our ballet academy. Unfortunately you have not been accepted. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length, and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet, and at 13, you are too old to be considered.”

The words are taken from rejection letters Misty Copeland received over the years—long before the American Ballet Theatre soloist became the new face of Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign, which focuses on the apparel giant’s women’s business.

ESPN said it’s hard not to get chills from the highly edited version of Copeland’s life that is presented in Under Armour’s new ad. And it doesn’t even scratch the surface as to what she went through (a broken home, poverty, and a late start at age 13 in a Boys & Girls Club ballet class) and what she became.

Says Copeland: “Life was so hard that I think that I almost needed to become a ballet dancer to develop as a person.”

While some might call the company’s signing of Copeland risky, in a cluttered media world she—unlike Under Armour endorsers such as skier Lindsey Vonn, tennis player Sloane Stephens, and soccer player Kelley O’Hara—raises eyebrows just by her presence.

The sponsorship deal has been huge for Copeland, too. Soloists like her, she says, generally make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year at the ballet company. She’s near the top of that pay range these days, and she says the Under Armour deal actually pays her more than ballet does.

To read the original story and see the ad, visit http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/11291626/espnw-why-armour-banking-ballerina-misty-copeland.

 

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Two Canadian Dancers Take Top Prizes at Ballet Competition in Vienna

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Michelle Khoo; photo courtesy Vancouver Sun

Michelle Khoo;
photo courtesy Vancouver Sun

Two 15-year-old dancers with Vancouver’s Goh Ballet have won the top two prizes in the Wien Welt Wettbewerb Ballet Competition in Vienna, the first time two Canadian dancers won both prizes in the international competition’s seven-year history, the Vancouver Sun reports.

The winners were Michelle Khoo, who won gold as well as the Most Talented Young Performer award in contemporary, and Chihiro Abe, who won silver, after competing with more than 200 dancers from 20 countries.

“I’m so proud of them winning the gold and silver medal at the same time,” said Goh Ballet founder Choo Chiat Goh. “I’m so proud of my city and I’m so proud of my country. They are very beautiful dancers for the future.”

Both dancers have been training with the Goh Ballet for more than a decade and it was the first time either of them participated in an international competition.

Goh Ballet Academy director Chan Hon Goh, who represented Canada as the only North American judge, said: “I was extremely proud of the Canadian representation here in Vienna as their love of dance radiated across to the audience. Vienna is a recognizable center for the arts that is well-respected and admired for its cultural history. It brought such joy to my heart to be able to see Goh Ballet dancers prove their accomplishments on this international stage.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/
Ballet+dancers+take+prizes+Vienna+competition/10077036/story.html
.

 

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Protestors Remember Ukraine During Bolshoi’s Historic Saratoga Springs Stop

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Bolshoi Ballet; photo by Damir Yusupov

Bolshoi Ballet; photo by Damir Yusupov

Several protestors sang the Ukrainian National Anthem and spoke out to decry the recent actions of Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Bolshoi Ballet’s opening night performance in Saratoga Springs, New York, this week, reported Time Warner Cable News.

Andrij Baran, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee in the Capital District, said Tuesday’s protest in the Saratoga Performing Arts Center parking lot wasn’t meant to criticize the dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet, one of the oldest Russian ballet companies in the world, currently on a tour of the U.S. and Canada. Rather, the protesters hoped to draw attention to the tensions in Eastern Europe.

“There are many children and people killed,” said Ukrainian local Marion Swidersky. “We still have relatives there. I have nieces and nephews, and [other protesters] have children and grandchildren. We try to call public attention that while they’re enjoying art, they have to remember those killed by Russian targets.”

This week marked the first performance of the Bolshoi in Saratoga Springs. Bill Fraley was on hand to watch a little piece of history. “To remember all the steps, first of all, and to see them dance all of that, it’s kind of interesting to see that,” he said. “We’re very lucky to be here.”

Hours earlier, President Obama and the European Union imposed severe sanctions against Russia. Obama has criticized Putin for the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

To see the original story, visit http://mohawkvalley.twcnews.com/content/news/756933/ukrainian-locals-protest-outside-spac-as-bolshoi-ballet-performs/#sthash.afwvyk8C.dpuf.

 

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Christopher Stowell Returns to SF Ballet as Ballet Master, Assistant to Artistic Director

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Christopher Stowell; photo by Joni Kabana

Christopher Stowell;
photo by Joni Kabana

Christopher Stowell, former artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre, has been appointed to the title of ballet master and assistant to the artistic director at San Francisco Ballet.

Beginning August 25, Stowell—who danced with SF Ballet for 16 years—will oversee a number of artistic duties in addition to those held by former ballet master and assistant to the artistic director Bruce Sansom.

Stowell will report to SF Ballet artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson, and work with the ballet’s administrative team on matters of planning, budgeting, and program expense management. He will also assist with scheduling, and artist and season management. As ballet master, Stowell will teach company class and rehearse ballets for the repertory season.

Born in New York City, Stowell received his training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet before joining SF Ballet in 1985. Stowell has taught and coached in San Francisco, New York, Japan, China, and Europe, and has created new works for SF Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Diablo Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute.

Stowell served as OBT’s artistic director from 2003 to 2012. For more information, visit http://www.sfballet.org/about/media_center/press_releases/Chris_Stowell.

 

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Retiring PBT Corps Member Stephen Hadala in a Class By Himself

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Stephen Hadala; photo by Nicholas Coppula

Stephen Hadala; photo by Nicholas Coppula

In a mid-sized company like Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, a corps de ballet member is usually a face in the crowd—a villager, one in a group of friends, a supporting player.

But after his final PBT performance as the foppish nobleman Gamache in Don Quixote, Stephen Hadala took center stage, surrounded by the entire company. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it was the first time in more than 40 years that PBT had so honored a member of the corps de ballet.

Maybe that was because the 16-year veteran was in a class by himself, above the usual distinctions between principal dancer, soloist, and corps. During his career, he never coveted a promotion. His steadiness, work ethic, and sense of humor made him a “rock” of the company, his colleagues say.

Robert Vickrey, assistant to the artistic director, recalls how the young Hadala would attend a full day of PBT rehearsals then walk to a full-time job at a Rite Aid.

“It was his determination and perseverance,” Vickrey said. “He never slacked off. He kept his nose to the grindstone and was always in class. But there was no one in the world who was more fun than Stephen. You could say anything to him and he had an answer for it.”

Hadala joined the company in 1998, and quickly began to show a gift for character roles, making his mark as Dracula, Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Dr. Coppelius in Coppélia.

“Stephen personalized roles no matter how big or how small,” PBT principal dancer Julia Erickson said. “He made something out of everything.”

He gradually developed into a secure partner, debuted in contemporary works, helped to train new dancers, and, as union representative for 14 years, won the respect of management and fellow dancers.

Hadala will return to Detroit so he and his sister can take over the Allard Academy of Dance, the place where everything began. To read the full story, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2014/07/27/Pittsburgh-Ballet-Theatre-loses-a-rock-as-Hadala-retires/stories/201407230001.

 

 

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International Dance Star, Ángel Corella, Assumes Helm of Pennsylvania Ballet

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Ángel Corella; photo courtesy Muppet Wikia

Ángel Corella; photo courtesy Muppet Wikia

Often called “one of the finest dancers of his generation,” American Ballet Theatre standout Ángel Corella has been appointed artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

“We are incredibly excited to be bringing a director with this level of talent, experience, and passion into our community,” board co-chair David Hoffman said in a release. “Pennsylvania Ballet is at the threshold of a new and dynamic era that calls for an artistic leader with the vision, energy, and creativity to excite audiences. Ángel has the power to make Philadelphia one of the most exhilarating dance cities in the world.”

Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Corella joined ABT in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer the following year. He is credited with elevating the technique and artistry of male dancing throughout the world and possessing incredible technical skills matched only by his warmth and passion for the dance.

Corella has spent the last six years in Spain as director of his own company, originally the Corella Ballet Castilla y León, which became the Barcelona Ballet. “Pennsylvania Ballet has such a great reputation, such great dancers and such a loyal audience,” he said. “My dream is to build on this rich history, its Balanchine legacy, and make the company a center for all the best in ballet, a true national model.”

He will replace Roy Kaiser, who is stepping down after 19 years as artistic director to assume the title of artistic director emeritus. To see the full release, visit http://www.paballet.org/pennsylvania-ballet-trustees-appoint-%C3%A1ngel-corella-artistic-director.

 

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Royal Ballet’s Cinema Season Ranges from Winter Tales to White Swans

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; image courtesy Fathom Events

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland;
image courtesy Fathom Events

Five sumptuous Royal Ballet productions will be broadcast to more than 360 cinema screens in the U.S. October through May as part of the 2014–15 Royal Ballet Cinema Season, presented by Fathom Events and the Royal Opera House.

Killer Aphrodite said four ballets will be captured live from London: Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon on October 16, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on December 16, Anthony Dowell’s Swan Lake on March 19, and Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée on May 5. Rounding out the season is the broadcast of the prerecorded The Winter’s Tale on February 17, also choreographed by Wheeldon.

Each event in the series will also feature 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage including interviews with the performers and specially captured rehearsal elements.

Alastair Roberts, managing director of Royal Opera House Enterprises, said the ballet is excited not only about the expanded cinema broadcast season, but also about its planned 2015 tour of the U.S., with performances set for Chicago, Washington, DC, and New York City.

Tickets for the 2014–15 Royal Ballet Cinema Season are on sale at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. For more information about Royal Opera House and the ballet series, visit www.roh.org.uk.

To see the original story, visit http://www.killeraphrodite.com/2014/07/news-royal-opera-house-ballet-series-returns-2nd-season-u-s-cinemas/.

 

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Second Annual Cape Dance Festival Brings World-Class Dance to Cape Cod

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Annmaria Mazzini of Mazzini Dance Collective; photo by Sarah Sterner Photography

Annmaria Mazzini of Mazzini Dance Collective; photo by
Sarah Sterner Photography

The Cape Dance Festival, scheduled for July 26 at 6pm at the Province Lands Amphitheatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts, has been a labor of love for co-founders Stacey-Jo Marine and Liz Wolff. And that affection for increasing the amount of dance performance on the Cape has been embraced throughout the region.

“The summer program this year will have a different feel with a lot of new work,” says Marine in Provincetown Magazine. “Newer work and a fresh vibe.”

Scheduled performers include Boston Ballet soloist John Lam, along with dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company, CorbinDances, Nickerson-Rossi Dance, Take Dance, Mazzini Dance Collective, Pedro Ruiz, and Project Moves Dance Company.

Marine and Wolff formed Cape Dance Festival in 2013 to bring world-class dance to the residents and visitors of Cape Cod through education, altruism, and performance. Marine, who teaches dance production at Marymount Manhattan College, is currently touring with the Martha Graham Dance Company as production supervisor. Wolff is a life-long summer resident of the Cape who danced professionally in New York and Cleveland for 15 years, and is the co-curator for Dance On Camera, a film festival held annually at Lincoln Center, NYC.

The Province Lands Amphitheater is located at 171 Race Point Road, next to the Province Lands Visitor Center. For more information, visit http://capedancefestival.com/.

 

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David Hallberg Enjoying ‘Dual Citizenship’ in Ballet Worlds of Russia and U.S.

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David Hallberg in the Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake; photo by Stephanie Berger/AP

David Hallberg in the Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake;
photo by Stephanie Berger/AP

Talk about worlds colliding. For the past three years, since David Hallberg made headlines by becoming the first American—and first foreigner—to be named a principal dancer at the storied Bolshoi Ballet, Hallberg, a blond, elegant dancer from the American heartland, has lived what he calls two separate lives—his American life, in New York (where he still dances for American Ballet Theatre), and his Russian life, in Moscow.

But last week, the two converged, as the Bolshoi performed in New York for the first time in nearly a decade.

An Associated Press story in the Houston Chronicle said that over the past three years Hallberg has become known as sort of a ballet diplomat: a dancer who took the reverse journey to the one Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov took many years earlier, when they defected. He’s hired a personal publicist, travels the world making guest appearances, and has been a subject of artsy fashion magazine shoots.

He’s feeling “more and more part of the fabric of the Bolshoi.” Almost everyone has been welcoming, he says, down to the cleaners in the hallways. “They all want to say good morning, practice their English,” he laughs.

As for his own Russian, it’s been a slow process. In time, though, he’s built a nice Moscow social life, he says—not so much with dancers as with designers, photographers, stylists, and artists. He’s developed an affinity for a city he once hated—and doesn’t seem to mind the cold.

At work, he’s found that he’s immersed mainly in the classics, like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. While that can be satisfying, and is physically quite demanding, he says he needs to find time to stretch himself with contemporary choreographers. “I just have to stay aware, because it could turn into all Swan Lakes, all around the world,” he says.

He adds: “You know, when I went to the Bolshoi, I thought, ‘This could totally blow up in my face. I could be back in New York in six months.’ But sometimes life says, ‘Listen, this is what’s going to happen. This is the ride that you’re going to go on.’ ”

To read the full story, visit http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/A-full-circle-moment-for-Bolshoi-s-American-star-5628393.php.

 

 

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Tune In Next Week to Catch Final Round of Varna International Ballet Competition

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IBC Varna 2014; photo courtesy Facebook

IBC Varna 2014; photo courtesy Facebook

Some 130 representatives of 30 countries are taking part in the 26th edition of the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, which aims at finding young talents in classical and contemporary ballet.

2014 marks 50 years since the inaugural Varna festival, founded in 1964 as the world’s first professional international competition. Vladimir Vasiliev from Russia will serve as jury chair for this year’s panel, which includes judges from Cuba, Bulgaria, USA, Japan, Germany, Romania, Monaco, Argentina, France, Korea, China, and Kazakhstan.

Ballet fans around the world can tune in next week as some of the competition and special events are broadcast live on BNT World July 26, 27, 29, and 30 at 8pm Central European Summer Time. (To access the broadcast, visit http://tv.bnt.bg/bntworld/.)

Competition began Tuesday. The third round will take place July 26 and 27. Prizes will be awarded at the official closing ceremony July 29, followed by a Super Gala, “Meeting of Generations,” on July 30.

To learn more about Varna, visit http://www.varna-ibc.org/site/?lang=en.

 

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No Pink Tutus Here: London Boys Ballet School First Of Its Kind

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London Boys Ballet School; photo courtesy London Boys Ballet School

London Boys Ballet School;
photo courtesy London Boys Ballet School

The London Boys Ballet School, the first of its kind in the UK, is dedicated entirely to boys, according to its founder James Anthony, who hopes to remove the stigma surrounding boys doing ballet, reports BBC News London.

Anthony, 33, a former teacher and sports coach, says he started the school partially because “I really wanted to take up ballet when I was at school but I thought I would get bullied.”

He said he hoped to stop other boys being put off by creating an environment where they do not feel like the odd ones out. “It’s all about changing the image. There’s nothing girly about the “huge amounts of strength, confidence, flexibility, and athletic ability,” needed by males who dance, he said.

Royal Ballet School figures show the number of boys who applied for full-time training there increased by 30 percent in the past two years. Elsewhere, Matthew Bourne—probably Britain’s best-known choreographer—recently recruited more than 300 novice dancers for his Lord of the Flies tour, in an attempt to get more young men dancing.

And the school has appeared to be receiving recognition from far afield, ever since it opened in March. “We get emails from all over the world praising us for what we do,” Anthony adds.

To read the full story, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-28129203.

 

 

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Despite Tough Financial Times, Joan Myers Brown and Philadanco Dance On

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Joan Myers Brown; photo courtesy Philadanco

Joan Myers Brown;
photo courtesy Philadanco

Joan Myers Brown is a Philadelphia legend: in 1960 she started a school—and a decade later, the dance company Philadanco—hoping to nullify entrenched racism in ballet, modern, and theatrical dance. She is also founder of the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), a performance forum and broad-based cultural exchange.

But when Brown received a National Medal for the Arts Award from President Obama last year, she said she was honored, but more concerned with the fiscal shape of her company, reported the

Huffington Post. Today, at age 82 and getting ready for her company’s 45th season, there is no time for a victory lap.

“If I don’t get the company back on its feet, financially, I’m going to have start from scratch,” Brown said. For years she has been one of the few companies to contract her dancers with year-round salaries, and recently she was forced to put them on a two-month furlough.

Philadanco is anything but a static dance company; Brown nurtures new choreographers and new artistic collaborations with other city arts institutions like the Philadelphia Orchestra. The company typically tours 40-plus weeks a year, with many dates sold out. But it never makes enough in ticket sales to pay all the bills. Like many other arts organizations, dance companies have to secure grants and corporate funding to remain solvent, but dance grants are disappearing or becoming more bureaucratically arbitrary and difficult to negotiate.

Brown echoes the frustration of a lot of artistic directors who have proven track records, yet still have to prove themselves worthy. “Being dictating to, what you can and can’t do, so you are not allowed to do your art. I get grants, but there are strings attached.” Rather than lamenting, Brown is even more resolute. The company will head out on another European tour in January.

To read the full story, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lew-whittington/despite-fiscal-setbacks-p_b_5584763.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ir=Arts.

 

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Ballet Idaho Academy Dancer With Bright Future Overcomes Rough Start in Life

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Antonio Carnell; photo by Eric Turner /KTVB

Antonio Carnell; photo by Eric Turner /KTVB

Close to 250 students take classes at Ballet Idaho Academy, including one male dancer who is beating the odds while hoping for a future in ballet, reports KTVB.com.

“I get a lot of attention,” admits dancer Antonio Carnell, 15, who is into his sixth year of study at Ballet Idaho. Carnell was prenatally exposed to drugs, born premature, and went through withdrawal. He lived in foster homes in St. Louis, Missouri, before being adopted at age 3 by Michael and Diane Carnell, who brought Antonio to Boise and gave him a safe place to grow.

“Even when he was little he was such a performer,” said Diane. When he showed an interest in dance at age 10, his family encouraged him. A dance scholarship at Ballet Idaho sealed the deal.

Antonio’s teachers say he has a natural ability. “He has a wonderful stage personality,” said academy director Emily Wallace. “And you really see that in him, that drive to perfection.”

The teenager is working hard to reach his goal of becoming an accomplished dancer, including taking part in a summer intensive in Oregon for the next few weeks. Instructors in Boise say he has the potential to keep growing, and perhaps dance in a ballet company in the future.

To see the original story, visit http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/07/15/boise-teen-ballet-adversity/12681599/.

 

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Dancers Starting Earlier Than Ever in Babywearing Ballet Class

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Babywearing Ballet class; photo courtesy Daily Mail

Babywearing Ballet class; photo courtesy Daily Mail

It’s ballet, but not quite as you know it. As well as the usual ballet attire, dancers are also wearing their babies. The Daily Mail reports that in a new fitness craze sweeping the U.S., Babywearing Ballet is being billed as the perfect exercise class for new mothers, especially those who can’t find a babysitter.

It means the little ones are already doing pliés and tendus before they can even walk. For the duration of the class, the mothers practice usual ballet techniques while wearing their newborn babies in a baby carrier or sling.

It is claimed that not only do the classes benefit the mothers who get a gentle, safe, and effective workout, but the babies too, who enjoy the movement and music, said to emulate the swaying and motion they felt in the womb.

Ballet dancer and mother of two Morgan Castner created this class in Tustin, California.

Now a video she posted on Facebook showing her students dancing with their babies has been shared more than 20,000 times. Castner said she has been overwhelmed by the response to her video since posting it online.

Castner teaches with her nine-week-old daughter Quinn in a sling and came up with the idea two years ago. She explains: “My son was 11 months old and with my husband serving in the military, I was looking for fun things we could do together out of the house while he was away. I love dancing and loved babywearing, so it was a natural progression.”

Castner says that the main focus of the class is bonding between mother and child, adding that it is only natural that babies enjoy the motion from dance and find it relaxing after being swayed in the womb for nine months.

According to her website, classes begin by warming up at the barre with pliés, tendus and dégagés and move to center floor work, all while wearing the little one in a sling. Castner says Babywearing Ballet is suitable for all levels of fitness and for babies from newborn to any babywearing age. All participants need is a comfortable and secure baby carrier and usual gym clothes.

Tutus are optional.

To see the original story, visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2692910/A-workout-without-babysitter-The-ballet-class-allows-new-moms-dance-WEARING-babies.html.

 

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Filmmaker’s Robotic Camera Creates Stunning Film of Romantic Pas De Deux

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Francesca da Rimini; photo Alexander Reneff-Olson

Francesca da Rimini; photo Alexander Reneff-Olson

Star-crossed lovers. Immaculate dance moves. Giant robots. If it sounds like the plot of the newest Guillermo del Toro movie, you wouldn’t be too far from the truth. The reality, however, might be even more exciting: Tchaikovsky’s ballet fantasia, Francesca da Rimini, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov and danced by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada of San Francisco Ballet—and gorgeously filmed with the aid of a massive, robot-controlled camera.

As director Tarik Abdel-Gawad explained in The Creators Project: “The film itself brings the viewer closer to a ballet performance than is possible on a stage. Using a robot allows the camera to be choreographed as well as the dancers, achieving spectacular shots designed specifically for this performance. The end result is a film that makes viewers feel they’re in the room dancing with the performers.”

The work began by capturing the real choreography digitally and with animated camera motion in 3D. The digital and the physical were then united as the real performance was shot with a motion control camera.

The robot never appears on screen: it is used as a tool for camera control. “The camera motion was designed to move in rhythm with the choreography, following the dancers like another performer that counters and amplifies their movement,” he said. “We didn’t want to change the choreography to accommodate the tech. The challenge was to perform it with an intimidating robotic partner. It was more difficult for the dancers to adapt to this environment than it was for the robot.”

To view the finished film, as well as a “making of” featurette, visit http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/robots-and-choreography-abound-in-this-update-to-a-ballet-masterpiece.

 

 

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Ballet San Antonio Expands Staff

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Amy Fote; photo courtesy Ballet San Antonio

Amy Fote; photo courtesy Ballet San Antonio

Ballet San Antonio, which will be the resident ballet troupe at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, has added dancers from across the country to its artistic staff, reports mySanAntonio.com.

Amy Fote, a former principal dancer with the Houston and Milwaukee ballets, will be coaching, mentoring, and rehearsing dancers. She replaces Dede Barfield. Susan Clark, who danced with the Atlanta and Milwaukee ballets, is being brought in as artistic associate and répétiteur.

Besides those hires, the company has added Ben Stevenson, a noted choreographer and artistic director emeritus of Houston Ballet, to its advisory board.

“Ben, Amy and Susan will be invaluable as we expand our repertoire and continue to shape our company’s artistic style,” Artistic Director Gabriel Zertuche said in a press release. “The fact that artists of this caliber are joining our Ballet San Antonio family, speaks to our strengths and the national attention we are attracting.”

The company kicks off its first season at Tobin with Zertuche’s “Dracula” in October.

To see the original story, visit http://blog.mysanantonio.com/weekender/2014/07/ballet-sa-expands-staff/.

 

 

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Emerging Choreographers Can Win Opportunity to Set Piece on Joffrey Student Dancers

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Choreographers of Color; image courtesy Joffrey Academy of Dance

Choreographers of Color;
image courtesy Joffrey Academy of Dance

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, official school of The Joffrey Ballet, announces a national call for artists to submit applications for the Joffrey Academy’s Fifth Annual Choreographers of Color Award.

The goal of the award is to recognize talented and emerging choreographers of color whose diverse perspective will ignite creativity in the form of original works of dance. The deadline for application is October 1, 2014.

The winning choreographers will be awarded a $2,500 stipend and given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours. They will set their piece on the international members of the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program and the newly formed Joffrey Studio Company, and have the opportunity to work closely with Joffrey academy artistic directors Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev.

The choreographic work must be original and developed by the applicant and the finished piece must be a minimum of 10 minutes and maximum of 12 minutes long. The world premiere works will be showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Avenue, March 7 and 8, 2015.

For application details, visit www.joffrey.org/winningworks.

 

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NYCB Soloist Justin Peck Becomes Company’s Resident Choreographer

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Justin Peck; photo by Andrea Mohin/New York Times

Justin Peck; photo by Andrea Mohin/New York Times

New York City Ballet soloist Justin Peck has been appointed resident choreographer just two years after creating his first piece for the company, reported the New York Times.

Peck’s appointment, announced on Wednesday and effective immediately, makes him the second person to hold this position at NYCB, after Christopher Wheeldon, who was the company’s resident choreographer from 2001 to 2008.

The appointment requires Peck, who will continue to dance with NYCB, to create two ballets a year for the next three years. He will also be able to create ballets for other companies—upcoming premieres of his work are planned for Pacific Northwest Ballet in November and Miami City Ballet in March.

“I’m ecstatic,” Peck, 26, said in a telephone interview from Saratoga Springs where NYCB was preparing for a week of performances, including his most recent ballet, Everywhere We Go. “It has been a dream or goal of mine to have a more permanent place as a dance maker, and City Ballet is my ideal place and my home in the dance mecca of New York.”

Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky (who was offered the resident choreographer position at NYCB after Wheeldon left, but went to American Ballet Theatre as its artist in residence in 2009) are generally considered the major ballet choreographers of the last decade.

Peck’s work “perfectly captures the spirit and dynamic of today’s generation of dancers at City Ballet,” said Wheeldon by telephone from Paris. “They are extremely lucky to have him.”

To see the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballet-names-justin-peck-as-choreographer.html?_r=0.

 

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Entire San Francisco Ballet Company In Paris For Festival Performances

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San Francisco Ballet in Caprice;  photo by Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet in Caprice;
photo by Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet is in Paris for an unprecedented 17-day engagement at the Théâtre du Châtelet, beginning on July 10, and is featured in the Les Etés de la Danse Festival, reported San Francisco Classical Voice.

The company program is varied and extensive, compressing virtually the entire home season into the festival days. The entire company—principals, soloists, corps de ballet—is participating. A notable homecoming is that of Mathilde Froustey, on extended leave from the Paris Opera Ballet; she will stay with SF Ballet at least through 2015.

Opening night is an exceptionally generous gala. The program: Renato Zanella’s Alles Walzer, Val Caniparoli’s No Other, the pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, Helgi Tomasson’s Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers, Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, the pas de deux from George Balanchine’s Agon, Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins, Frederick Ashton’s Voices of Spring, the second movement pas de deux from Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, and the fourth movement and finale from Balanchine’s Symphony in C.

From the opening until the July 26 closing concert, SF Ballet will present some three dozen works.

Interesting tidbit: Théâtre du Châtelet was originally used for drama performances. Beginning in April 1876, the stage version of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, adapted by Verne and Adolphe d’Ennery, began a run spanning 64 years and 2,195 performances (not continuously), until the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940 closed the production permanently.

To see the original story, visit https://www.sfcv.org/article/sf-ballet-at-home-in-paris.

 

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Dancers, Fans, Ready to Wish ABT a Happy 75th Anniversary

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Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes celebrate ABT’s 75th anniversary; photo by Gene Schiavone

Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes celebrate ABT’s 75th anniversary; photo by Gene Schiavone

American Ballet Theatre’s upcoming 75th anniversary celebration will feature works by choreographers most closely associated with ABT, including Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, Michel Fokine, Frederick Ashton, Léonide Massine, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, and Alexei Ratmansky.

These works, such as Tudor’s Jardin aux Lilas and Robbins’ Fancy Free, will serve to showcase the company’s wide-ranging style, historic legacy, and continuing innovation. Special anniversary events commemorating the company’s history will be outlined in upcoming announcements.

ABT’s fall season at New York City’s David H. Koch Theater, set for October 22 to November 2, will include a world premiere by Liam Scarlett, and a new production of Raymonda Divertissements, staged by Kevin McKenzie and Irina Kolpakova after Marius Petipa.

ABT principal dancers include Isabella Boylston, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Hee Seo, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, and James Whiteside.

Fall season tickets, priced from $20, go on sale July 14 at www.abt.org, the Koch box office, or at 212.496.0600.

 

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Reports of Bolshoi Director’s Health Scare Greatly Exaggerated

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Sergei Filin; photo by Jesse Dittmar for the Washington Post

Sergei Filin;
photo by Jesse Dittmar for the Washington Post

Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin, 43, has recovered from an acute allergic reaction to an eye treatment that sent him to the hospital Friday, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Filin, who was nearly blinded in a 2013 acid attack, wasted no time getting back to the theater for rehearsals, an associate said Sunday.

The Washington Post passed along the Interfax report that Filin was discharged Sunday from Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Research Institute and is in “normal” condition. He then returned to rehearsals at the Bolshoi Theater, where he is overseeing a new production of The Taming of the Shrew set to premiere July 4.

On Friday, an allergic reaction caused swelling, “something similar to the attack from allergy to peanuts,” said Filin’s friend and former adviser at the Bolshoi, Dilyara Timergazina, in an e-mail. “His condition was immediately taken care of, but it was decided to take him to the hospital for further observation and detoxication. He is fine now.”

Interfax reported that the allergic condition is called Quincke’s edema.

Reports on Filin’s condition varied over the weekend, with some web sites reporting he was in grave or critical condition, or in a heart unit. Timergazina said these reports were false.

To see the original story, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/bolshoi-ballet-director-back-at-work-again-after-health-scare/2014/06/29/70bb6b18-ff93-11e3-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html.

 

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Pristine and Poised Korean Dancers Win Big at USA International Ballet Competition

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Jeong Hansol in “Forgot Something”; photo by Richard Finkelstein

Jeong Hansol in “Forgot Something”;
photo by Richard Finkelstein

Nearly half the nine dancers representing the Republic of Korea are going home with hardware from the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, scoring more medal wins than any other country.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that only two American dancers, both in the women’s junior division (ages 15–18)—Gisele Bethea and Mackenzie Richter—leaped into the medals lineup. Bethea won gold and Richter won silver.

In what IBC international jury chair and dance legend Edward Villella termed “the finest of the fine,” medalists and other award winners were announced Friday morning following two weeks of intense competition at Thalia Mara Hall.

Republic of Korea’s Jeong Hansol, 21, took gold in the IBC’s most competitive field, the senior men’s division, with the help of his comedic contemporary piece, “Forgot Something,” appearing in tailcoat, hat, and hot-pink briefs as he illustrated a near-universal nightmare. Korea’s Byul Yun, 19, who won silver, said through an interpreter that he’d been to many competitions in the world, “but this one was one of the best. . . . This competition was one I dreamed of when I started dancing.”

Brazil scored three bronzes with dancers who, during the competitive rounds, captivated audiences that responded with a near rock-star welcome and audible buzz.

Along with her gold medal in the senior division, Japanese dancer Shiori Kase, 22, a soloist with the English National Ballet in London, was also taking home a global outlook on dance and this reminder: “I realize that it’s not just about technique. It’s about artistry, it’s about musicality. It made me think, again, that’s very important.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2014/06/27/medals-awarded-th-usa-ibc/11519247/.

 

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Black and White Vintage Photos Depict Ballet’s Glamorous Past

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Vintage ballet photography; photo by Serge Lido

Vintage ballet photography;
photo by Serge Lido

For ballet fans, there’s nothing more fun than perusing a collection of black and white photographs from ballet’s glamorous past. Vintage Everyday has posted an interesting assortment of backstage, onstage, and publicity shots from the 1950s and 1960s by Russian-French photographer Serge Lido (1906–1984).

Though based in Paris, Lido gained an international reputation for his dance photos, which were published in magazines and also collected in book form, such as La Danse (1947) and Les Étoiles de la danse dans le monde (1975).

To view the 15 photos of Margot Fonteyn and others, visit http://www.vintag.es/2014/06/gorgeous-vintage-ballet-photography-by.html.

 

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Rhoden and Matvienko Team Up for The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby artistic and production team; photo courtesy Dance Informa

The Great Gatsby artistic and production team;
photo courtesy Dance Informa

Dance Informa reports that three renowned artists are coming together to create and produce a feature-length ballet version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic The Great Gatsby. Set to premiere in Russia in October 2014, the production has plans to soon thereafter embark on a world tour.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet co-artistic director Dwight Rhoden will be bringing his creative eye to the team. Joining Rhoden will be pop composer Konstantin Meladze, and project star and art director Denis Matvienko, former Mariinsky Ballet principal and ABT guest.

Matvienko, who will star as Jay Gatsby, underwent a major surgery on his leg in April and recently announced his return to performing. Denis Matvienko’s sister, Alyona Matvienko, will serve as the project’s producer.

The first official auditions for The Great Gatsby ballet were held at the Mariinsky Theatre last month. It has not been announced who will partner Matvienko and dance the role of Daisy Buchanan.

To read the full story, visit http://danceinforma.us/articles/allstar-team-joins-up-for-the-great-gatsby/.

 

 

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New York City Ballet 9/11 Video Tribute Wins Video Competition

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Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour in After the Rain; photo by Davi Russo, courtesy Adweek

Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour in After the Rain;
photo by Davi Russo, courtesy Adweek

New York City Ballet was in Copenhagen when the news arrived on Sept. 11, 2001, that the Twin Towers had been attacked. Heartbroken and almost 4,000 miles away from home, ballet master in chief Peter Martins announced to the audience that the company would not dance that night. He promised they would return the next day—and they did. “We were so moved by this story,” recalls Peter Hempel, CEO of ad agency DDB New York. “We wanted a way to capture the spirit of what New York City Ballet believes in, which is new beginnings.”

To do so, DDB, with the help of RadicalMedia, shot NYCB principal dancers Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour performing a segment from After the Rain, by Christopher Wheeldon, at sunrise atop the new 4 World Trade Center. Since being uploaded on Sept. 12, 2013, the tribute has been viewed upwards of 1.1 million times on YouTube, and is the second most-viewed clip in the NYCB site’s history.

It’s also why Adweek named the video the Gold winner in the Production category of Adweek’s first Watch Awards competition, which celebrates the best work and talent in online video.

Rather than rely on the gimmicks many filmmakers use with ballet dancers (close-ups of toes on pointe, elongated limbs), Hempel—who himself trained with NYCB in his youth—says DDB and Radical involved the choreographer and dancers, with an eye on capturing intricate technique. The clip was filmed in one steady take to mimic the experience of watching a live performance. “We were able to not make the mistakes that someone who doesn’t understand ballet would,” says Hempel.

“It was an honor to offer this tribute to the city of New York, and we are grateful to the team at DDB for their creativity, sensitivity and skill in realizing a project that has resonated with so many,” says Karen Girty, NYCB’s senior director of marketing and media.

To see the original story, visit http://www.adweek.com/news-gallery/advertising-branding/sept-11-will-never-be-forgotten-dance-troupe-158485.

 

 

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2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Polished Pirouettes

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TipsBalletT
By David Arce

Tip 1
When broken down to its simplest form, a pirouette is a quick passé with a relevé and a spot—period. It doesn’t matter how many spots are done. Doing fewer pirouettes with a proper classical ballet finish is always preferable to multiple pirouettes with a sloppy finish.

Students who can’t finish multiple pirouettes cleanly in a center combination most likely cannot end in the same lunge they can when doing a passé relevé or single pirouette. Also, some tend to end their pirouettes in only one position (usually a derrière lunge).

To address these problems, I have students perform a single pirouette with a controlled balance and finish in a predetermined, specific way (e.g., a lunge on any axis away from the supporting leg: forward, à la seconde (in both directions), derrière, and all quadrants in between. I stand in the quadrant the dancer is prone to fall in or prefers to end in and tell him or her not to hit me.

With repetition of this exercise, students will finish a single pirouette in the quadrant you choose, regaining balance and a proper finishing position.

 

Tip 2
During a turn, the dancer must not only hold the position (coupe, passé, etc.) but find more length through the body. Often students achieve the correct position at the beginning of the turn (from preparation to turning position) but then “sit” while rotating. Remind them that they must continue to strive for a lifted, lengthened, and stronger position as they turn.

If I notice “sitting” in a pirouette, during relevé exercises at the barre I have the dancers visualize growing taller—this is the base for the energy they must maintain during turns. By finding more turnout, a higher relevé, more length in the spine, and a squarer and higher working leg position, the students will produce better balances and improve their position in pirouettes.

 

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FYI

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FYI
What’s up in the dance community

Atlanta’s Own “That Girl”

FYI1

Ofelia de La Valette, who opened an adult-focused dance studio, is featured in Marlo Thomas’ latest book. Photo by David Rams/David Rams Photography

When Ofelia de La Valette was a ponytailed kid growing up in New York City in the mid-‘60s, she wanted to be That Girl.

She’d watch the popular TV show of that name, idolizing its star, Marlo Thomas, “and thinking how amazing it would be to grow up and be independent and funny and smart” like Thomas’ character, she told Dance Studio Life. “Of all the TV shows or cultural influences, hers was the most impactful.”

Imagine de La Valette’s surprise two years ago when Thomas’ representatives called and began a year-long process of interviews. Apparently de La Valette’s story—born in Havana, Cuba, in 1960 to a wealthy family that fled, penniless, to NYC when she was 3; growing up poor, discovering dance at age 35, opening a studio at age 46 for adult beginners—fit the theme of Thomas’ latest book. Last month, when It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life—and Realizing Your Dreams—Anytime, at Any Age was published, de La Valette was one of 60 women profiled in it.

De La Valette started her Atlanta studio, Dance 101, in 2004 with 36 adult students. Today her two locations serve up ballet, tap, jazz, fitness, musical theater, and more, to approximately 1,500 adults each week.

“Something magical happens to people when they dance,” she said. That Girl herself apparently agrees.

 

 

 

 

A Spitball o’ Both Your Houses

FYI3

Photo by Alanna Garcia

What started the Capulet and Montague feud that led to the tragic climax of Romeo and Juliet? Was it a kickball game? Or its origin might have been an exchange of insults: “Your wife is so annoying.” Oh yeah? “Your wife is mad ugly, like you.” Or perhaps a disagreement over which family had the better baked goods was to blame.

Shakespeare didn’t say, so in American Ballet Theatre’s “Make a Ballet” program this spring, 75 fifth-graders “wrote prologues to the prologue” said Dennis J. Walters, ABT’s associate director of education and training.

For 17 years, this in-school residency program has introduced underserved New York City schoolchildren to ballet not just by getting them dancing, but also by immersing them in the many components that interact to create the art, from production to administration to design. This spring, ABT teaching artists assisted students as they discussed Romeo and Juliet’s themes, wrote soliloquies, built set pieces, and created short dances.

For a finale, 25 selected students performed their version of the ballet alongside ABT dancers in a Young People’s Ballet Workshop at the Metropolitan Opera House. “It’s not always the best dancers we select; it’s the kids who are working hard,” Walters told Dance Studio Life. “We’re not identifying dancers. What’s important to us with this program is that we’re exposing students to something new and wonderful.”

 

Humor Moves to Hubbard Street

FYI2

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago thinks dance should be a laughing matter, and this fall the contemporary company plans to prove it.

The company will create an original production with Chicago’s famed comedy troupe The Second City, which has nurtured comedians such as John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert.

When the collaboration was announced earlier this year, the dates for the show were set—October 16 to 19—but what would appear onstage was still up in the air. Inspired by the successful pairing of The Second City and Lyric Opera of Chicago, which resulted in a revue of comedic sketches and satirical vignettes, Hubbard Street officials were certain its creative minds would click with those at The Second City.

“Improvisation is a key part of our DNA on both sides,” Hubbard Street artistic director Glenn Edgerton said in a release.

 

 

 

 

Applause for Lerman and Brown

At the opening night celebration for the Dance/USA Annual Conference, Liz Lerman and D. David Brown will be recognized for their lifelong devotion to the dance field.

Lerman’s wide-ranging career in dance included an early ’70s stint as a go-go dancer, the 1976 creation of the multifaceted artists’ collaborative Dance Exchange, a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002, and a recent turn as artist in residence at Harvard University.

Brown danced up through Boston Ballet’s ranks before embarking on an equally successful career in company management, both in several positions with Boston and as executive director of Pacific Northwest Ballet.

On June 18, Lerman will receive the Honor Award for her extraordinary leadership, while Brown will receive the Ernie (Ian “Ernie” Horvath) Award for his work behind the scenes that has empowered and supported dance artists.

 

A Fitting Finale

It’s poetically fitting, choreographer Trey McIntyre says, that his respected contemporary company, Trey McIntyre Project, will end its life where it began—at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

After a fruitful decade of creating dance, McIntyre announced this winter he was disbanding his company to pursue other artistic avenues, such as film and photography.

Ella Baff, the Pillow’s executive and artistic director, said a backstage conversation with McIntyre led to a handful of Pillow performances by a pickup company of his favorite dancers in 2005 and 2006, then to Trey McIntyre Project’s official full-time debut there in 2008.

After saying goodbye in a cross-country tour this spring, TMP’s farewell shows will be held June 25 to 29 at the Pillow’s Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, Massachusetts.

 

 

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